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Domark Ltd
1987
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£9.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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103
Graham Taylor
Chris Bourne

Star Wars, the Spectrum edition is the first of a trilogy of coin-op conversions from Domark.

In principle this is good. In fact if you look at the screen shots that advertise the the game you may notice that there is almost no visual difference between the Spectrum and the ST versions.

The reason is the coin-op uses vector graphics - the graphics are for a coin-op primitive - but they're very, very fast!

The things that are wrong with Star Wars the Spectrum version are not technical.

Technically the 3D vector graphics are at least as fast and impressive as those on the excellent Starglider. Not only that, but the colour appears virtually attribute-clash free. Awesome. But...

Imagine playing a fast shoot'em-up in complete silence. Not a bleep or buzz or pathetic whine. No dramatic explosions, no nothing. Imagine blasting things to bits without a single noise to register a hit. Nothing.

The reason for all this silence is technical. It seems that using the 48K sound slowed the game up so much that Domark felt it would be too slow to play.

Perhaps so, but this problem only arises on the 48K mode and any 128K music would be absolutely fine. Problem solved? Well, no there isn't a special 128K version. For reasons best known to itself there is no 128K music and so no way of escaping the silence. This decision by Domark is, how can I put this, a serious mistake!

I found playing the game in silence very off-putting. It almost put me off the game.

Star Wars is three games in one. It's based, like the coin-op, on three scenes from the original film. These are: flying in space blowing things up, flying over the planet blowing things up whilst dodging towers and then flying down the channel trying to survive long enough to reach an exhaust port which will, as in the film, blow the Death Star to bits.

In game terms this translates into lots of vector stuff, a nice illusion of hurtling at great speed and mucho zapping.

Difficulty level translates into the 'select your Death Star' option in the opening screens.

Choose the easy level and you get to miss the 'dodging the towers' bit entirely, the mighty Empire forces are about as threatening to your health as a small boil and rush towards your gunsights saying 'kill me! kill me!' If you get through all the sections of the game and obliterate the Death Star you move on to the next, more heavily defended, one - the equivalent of selecting a higher level of difficulty on the opening screen.

If you play at the easiest level you will almost certainly make it through to the last section of the game. This is good in that you can see all the sections of the game but bad in that it's a bit too easy for my taste. At later levels it's quite challenging but not completely impossible.

If you can live without any sound, in almost all other respects this is a mighty conversion and faithfully recreates the coin-op.

At £9.95, though, Domark isn't doing anyone any favours.

Label: Domark
Author: Vector Grafix
Price: £9.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

8/10

Superb conversion of the coin-op, and an amazing achievement. Spoiled somewhat by being completely silent.

8/10

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PROGRAMMERS

VECTOR GRAFIX is a new programming house. Star Wars is its first completed project. The programmers were Ciaran Gultnieks and Andy Craven graphics were by John Castle and Derek Austin.